A British pathologist has said he cannot rule out the possibility a London teenager found dead near a Malaysian jungle resort was sexually assaulted because her body suffered such severe decomposition.
Nathaniel Cary, a forensic pathologist who performed a second autopsy on the body of Nora Anne Quorin in the UK, said he agreed with the findings of officials in Malaysia that the teen died of intestinal bleeding due to starvation and stress.
But he also told a Malaysian virtual inquest into the 15-year-old’s death that while there was no positive evidence she was sexually assaulted, he could not fully exclude the possibility.
He said that the poor condition of the body made it hard to determine if there were semen traces or the DNA of strangers.
“I think we can exclude very serious trauma to the genitalia … but I won’t be able to exclude minimal trauma because of the decomposition obscuring things,” he said.
“The difficulty here is because of the decomposition, the forensic evidence would be disadvantaged to an extent.”
Nora disappeared from her family’s cottage at the Dusun eco-resort in southern Negeri Sembilan state in August 2019, a day after her family arrived for a holiday.
Following a huge search, her body was found nine days after she vanished, beside a stream on a palm oil estate around 1.6 miles from the resort.
She was only wearing her underwear when she went missing but her body was found naked.
It was unclear what happened to her underwear, but police had previously said the autopsy showed no sign she was sexually assaulted.
Police also told the inquest that investigations showed no criminal activity nor any indication Nora had been abducted. They say they believe she climbed out of a window on her own.
But her Irish mother, Meabh, and French father, Sebastien, say they believe their daughter was kidnapped because she had mental and physical disabilities and could not have wandered off on her own.
Mr Cary said the Malaysian autopsy had been thorough but that the decomposition made it difficult to ascertain “in what circumstances the death occurred”.
He agreed with Nora’s family lawyer that foreign DNA, if it existed, may also have been washed away as her feet and hands were immersed in water for a few days before her body was found.
Responding to a question from the family’s lawyer, Mr Cary agreed that he could not rule out the possibility that her body may have been placed there after her death, given that rescuers had previously searched the specific location.
He also agreed that there was no evidence Nora had suffered any major falls in the rough terrain despite her physical disabilities.
However, Mr Cary said the multiple cuts and scratches on the teenager’s body indicated she had moved through dense undergrowth.
“I see no reason to dispute the (Malaysian) findings, although like me, the Malaysian pathologists were clearly disadvantaged by the decomposition,” he added.
The Quoirin family has sued the resort owner for alleged negligence, saying there was no security there and that the window with a broken latch was found ajar the morning Nora disappeared
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